Maverick and the Never Ending Story.

Made a complaint about getting scammed on the booking site. They said to contact the property and see if they’ll give you a refund. The property was more of a rubbish dump than a place to stay so I hadn’t much hope of any digital gold flying back through the phone lines. There was a direct message system, or a text option. I tried the direct message first. DECLINED. Great. Said I’d chance a text, fuck it. She messaged back and said no. Imagine that? Sure she probably had the money spent on cheap cans and loose tobacco and rollie papers. Surprised she even messaged at all. Must have unlimited free texts on a shite phone with big buttons and a faulty charger.

         Back to the site. Said they couldn’t help, and they told me this already, but I could make complaint if I wanted. And how could I do that? Here’s an address, they said, a postal address, for some kind of regulator, in Brussels, and you all you have to do is post them the letter and I’m sure they’ll help and here’s a survey, and how was your experience today?

I’ll send ye a letter and let ye know.

         Found an alternative place in Dundrum. Cheaper, legal, looked like it did in the pictures, had reviews that didn’t sound like they came from people sprayed with Napalm.

         Later, decided to go see Maverick. Got parking at the town centre. It only took half an hour and a few laps of the car park. Found a spot at the back beside some kind of Porsche. Good company for the Focus. Free parking too, took the sting out of the scam. Walked over to the cinema, through the damp evening and the azure twilight, through ghostly generations of nervous lovers and actors souls captured in antique posters. Up the steps and pulled the door. There was a security guard talking to a crowd of young lads at the entrance. Warning them about something, anti-social behaviour, smoking, litter, who knew. Inside, plush carpet, screens advertising what’s on. They were doing a good deal. €9.95 for a film and a popcorn combo. Sound.  Dinner and a movie, all in one at 9pm.

         9pm came and it was fairly empty. Back in the time of the first Top Gun they’d show you ads for more films coming like Terminator 2 and Rocky IV and Honey I shrunk the Kids. You were on a dark train of endless screen theatre and imagination. The Never Ending Story.  Now there was ads for Amazon Prime where you could watch films at home and didn’t need to come to the cinema at all. Then there was more ads for mortgages, and banks, and phone companies and broadband and Jewellery shops and eventually the other people started wandering in and the movie started and, I don’t why, but the best bits seemed to be the flashbacks of the first one.

Rent, Road Rage and setting fire to the rain.

The four horsemen of the rent apocalypse were chasing the Ford Focus up the M50. You could kinda hear the thud and squeal of their wheels between the trucks and motorbikes and morning mayehm traffic. The phone was hanging off the yoke on the dashboard and the maps were on, talking shite about exits and roundabouts. All the signs to small universes whizzing by. Southbound, Dundrum, Sandyford, Stillorgan. I changed lane and some lad went demented. Started the crazy beeping and the gesticulation. Giving the wild advice like I could hear him through his passenger window. And his kid in the back, strapped to a babyseat, looking at him like he’s mad. He took off when he was finished with the news for the traffic deaf and I lost him behind a fat cement lorry.

The maps were getting excited now. Destination not far.

A small pebble hopped off the road and bounced off the windscreen but I wasn’t worried cos the windscreen was already cracked from a bigger stone last week so the pebble was out of luck tryna fuck up my day. I’d asked around and got numerous quotes to fix it. €297 here. €250 there. Offer cash. Cancel your insurance and then renew it, but add cover this time. And how long would that take and when is the NCT and you better get it done. Settled on a place for €200 and getting it done next week, let her crack away til then, might as well get my money’s worth for something rightly fucked instead of fixing a teardrop on the glass.

Switched on the news. Bad idea. Changed the station. Good idea. Adele kicked off with set fire to the rain. A soft massage on the cerebellum, a serenely sonic needle and thread, adding meaning to the colourblind clouds. The maps said to take a left. Take a right. Stop here. You’ll be there soon. Parked up. Let the orb spin and the gravity settle. Quiet dust across the moon, storms in Jupiter, distant diesel engines and road raging school runs. The engine relaxed, licking the fumes off her paws. Spotted a lotto ticket under the handbrake, left quietly there by the mother, said you might be lucky. Scanned it through the app and let the data packets bounce and the satellites sing through the ozone. And sure lookit, isn’t it fuckin mighty.

Social warming in Smithfield

 

Another evening, another booked out night in Dublin except for the hostels. Parked the car somewhere close to Smithfield, 6pm, ticket required til seven.Minimum purchase 20 cents.

Still had two 20’s left under the handbrake, orphans abandoned at the Enfield toll. Time to give them a home. Walked up to the ticket machine, a stubborn, disheveled effort, like a fella still drinking three weeks after a wedding. There was graffiti and a splash of random paint and a vague smell of piss or vinegar. One time there was a place for a card but that was blocked so it was cash only now. I pushed in the first 20 cent. It was tentative, unsure, wouldn’t commit, the tiny round shine still peeking out. That’s when the big Times Square newsflash appeared on the screen. Machine out of Order. Just in time for the 20 cent to fall and be lost forever in the disordered, discounted and unacknowledged abyss. Could be worse, coulda been a euro. Time to find tonight’s abode. It wasn’t far. 70 meters according to the phone. Inside, Pride Flags everywhere, calm loud music, pools balls clattering somewhere. Your man behind the counter was in Mayo lately. And did I ever climb the reek, and could he see my license, and here’s your key, and your room’s over there, just through the rainbow forest, and beyond the blue door. Got there, four bed job, well separated, bit like Spacepods on a film.  Only one fella here so far, trying to sleep, jetlag, age, some ailment, hard to know. The door was designed to fall closed with a loud angry mix of locks arguing with door frames and grumpy bolts and this made him move, grunt, sigh.  Dark interior, thick navy walls, window open, keeping out the microbes. Better go for a walk, no point sitting here in the dark, listening to your man snoring like a dying dog. Then I remembered they said at the counter they do good food, and he recommended the chicken burger at the bar, and all you need is here, and there’s even a pub crawl later if you’re up for it. Went out to the bar, few extras sitting around drinking gammy pints, talking shite about something that happened somewhere and generally making noise with words. The girl at the counter was all smiles and strange hair and piercings and bad news. We’re not doing food today, or tomorrow, but you can buy something outside and bring it in?  

 Outside, more flags. Restaurants advertising burgers and Mexican stuff. The distant sound of people’s minds screeching, like the brakes on a train about to derail. The badly oiled friction of the internet against reality. All the dopamine running dry, like social warming.

 Found a place across the road and took a seat and ordered, this is the life, in the big city, chicken burgers and spacepods and I wonder where would you get a cup of tea. There was a fella with a beard and a huge belly across the way studying the menu like it was a good news article about himself and he wanted to read more and more. The people around him were talking and yapping but he didn’t care, this was it, the big event. Sure it was all happening in Smithfield.